Russell Drive Park in north Ocoee has been renamed to honor the former city commissioner and longtime civil leader.
Visitors to the former Russell Drive Park, in north Ocoee, might notice a new sign on the east end of the park. It now is known as Frank W. Turner, named for a former longtime Ocoee resident who also served as city commissioner and as an officer in many civic organizations.
The Frank W. Turner sign was unveiled Saturday, May 11, in front of friends and generations of family. The Ocoee City Commission approved the name change last August, and the new sign recently was installed.
Barbara Martin, Turner’s stepdaughter, approached the commission last year about renaming the park, which is near her home on Russell Drive. Martin and her grandchildren frequently walk around the nearby pond to play on the park’s playground, and she said it would be a great honor for the city to recognize their grandfather.
Former Commissioner John Grogan was instrumental in getting the park renamed, and he was among the city officials at Saturday’s sign-unveiling ceremony.
Mayor Rusty Johnson and Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen also were present. Johnson recalled his friendship with Turner and their many golf games.
“Frank was a good person to the city of Ocoee,” he said. “If you come to this town, you’re a part of our town.”
Turner was in the United States Air Force before moving to Ocoee. He served as a city commissioner from 1970-74, and he held officer positions with the West Orange Jaycees, West Orange VFW Post 4305 and Ocoee Lions Club. He was a volunteer firefighter and owned the local Exxon gas station for years.
Turner married his wife, Mary, and became a father to her four young children. He died in 2007.
“It’s a good thing to have in a park where your family lives,” Johnson told Turner’s relatives. “You can bring your kids and grandkids here. I’m proud to see his name up here.”